Odds & Ends…

Because I’m too lazy to write an actual blog post… After the break…

Odds & Ends…

I meant to write some really engaging, really involved blog posts. That didn’t happen. So, you get the next best thing… This:

Fury (2014 movie) micro-review:

FURY stars contemporary mega-movie star Brad Pitt as a World War II tank commander sent on a hapless mission towards the final days of the war against Nazi Germany. This is a contemporary World War II movie so there is a lot of grit and grime and grease and mud so that everyone who is watching the film understands just how downright miserable it was traipsing through the war. Brad Pitt’s character (nicknamed “War Daddy”) is an emotionally shell-shocked character who has become punch-drunk with the savagery of war and he must now take on a brand-new tank crew member that is fresh-out-of-training.

The amount of authentic visuals are certainly refreshing and the painstaking attention to detail is most certainly appreciated. Unfortunately, this film seemingly has just about every single war movie cliche that could possibly be crammed into it’s running time. If you took a shot of hard alcohol every time you experienced a war movie cliche in this film, you’d need your stomach pumped out by the hour mark regardless if you’re a sailor or otherwise.

The end of the movie is particularly painful to watch due to the level of “been there, done that” cliches. Heroes die both tragically and needlessly against perilous odds that they themselves created but they are fighting the good fight, aren’t they? Wouldn’t have been more poignant and striking had these war-weary, punch-drunk war veterans lived through the war and was forced to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and not getting shot at and so forth? The movie does offer a little something for everyone (there’s even a bit of a cheesecake moment for the ladies with a shirtless Brad Pitt) but that “little something for everyone” is slathered in such a heavy layer of cliches that it’s impossible to enjoy. OK, here’s a contest: I’m going to write down all of the cliches that I can think of that this film had in one minute. Here it goes:

  • War-weary main character.
  • Grime and grit and everything is dirty everywhere.
  • Contrast that with the brand-spanking new character who enters into the grizzled veteran team.
  • The clean-cut new guy eventually becomes grizzled over the course of the film.
  • Tragic, sudden, violent deaths of the heroes.
  • Someone befriends a likeable citizen who is then needlessly and suddenly killed, resulting in a rush of emotions.

And on. And on. And on.

So, if you like World War II movies and don’t mind the bajillion cliches that come with those movies, enjoy “Fury.”

The Equalizer (2014 movie) micro-review:

Jason Bourne as a community-oriented middle-aged African-American.

Seriously, that’s it.

Do you like the Jason Bourne films? Do you enjoy seeing someone with a seemingly slightly above-average physique kick butt as though they’ve discovered a real life “God mode” secret console command?

“The Equalizer” is not a horrible film, just a forgettable one. It doesn’t rise above all of the other “Jason Bourne” clones that have since proliferated the marketplace. Denzel Washington plays a seemingly likeable, charming fellow who, after a female prostitute that he has befriended gets beaten to a pulp, decides to turn on the angry juice and wreak havoc on the criminal organization that has enslaved her into a life of prostitution. There are a few side stories of vengeance as well, such as two dirty cops shaking down a business and a robber who steals a sentimental object from a cashier but these side stories have absolutely no connection to the main plot; Seriously, they could be cut out of the film by recording over those portions with a VCR and you wouldn’t even know that anything was missing!

I don’t hate “The Equalizer” and the production values are good, it’s just that there isn’t anything here to help it rise above the material. Bill Pullman (long removed from his “Independence Day” era) drops by for a cameo so that he can pay his bills on time. Maybe part of the reason why the film simply didn’t resonate with me is because the film picks the wrong villain: Denzel kills the prostitution’s ring leader and his ilk within the first half-hour, leading the main villain to be some sort of crooked foreign assassin hired by someone higher up the criminal enterprise’s ladder to figure out who killed the local leadership.

The last quarter of the film is a bit painful to watch, akin to seeing a 14-year old all dressed in black and sulking about because they couldn’t get a date to a prom or someone “pwned” them in a multiplayer match or something. Denzel eventually blows up a tanker and goes to Russia to kill off the main-main-MAIN bad guy and… Cripes, why not just spend an extra 20 minutes, go back in time and kill Hitler while you’re at it (or did they re-insert that material in the Director’s Cut)?

So, if you have a hunkering for Jason Bourne and can’t wait for Matt Damon’s hyper-violent impression of MacGuyver that is “Jason Bourne,” I suppose that this is just good enough for your fix. Otherwise…

Fast Drivers…

Please stop driving fast. Seriously. Going 20 MPH over the posted speed limit is just dumb. Please stop doing that. You are endangering yourself. You are endangering everyone else. You are not auditioning for a spot in the latest NASCAR race. Just stop. Slow down. Take a breath. Relax. You can do that. I know that you can.

And I think that covers it all for now.

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